I just read an article about papaya trees, and it said the female flowers need to be pollinated to produce fruits. Does it mean the single papaya tree I grow from seed can’t produce fruit? Although I learned about male and female plants in school, I don't really understand how it works in practice.

I have one only young tree about 20 cm grown from seed, as I tossed away other small trees. LOL. I thought I'd just wanna keep one. Until it flowered, we didn’t know whether it was male or female. So my tree is single and will never bear fruit unless I plant another papaya tree?


1 Answer 1


As user @davidgo pointed out here. Papaya plants can be male female or hermaphrodite. Only hermaphrodite plants can self pollinate. And only female plants can bear fruits when "pollinated".

Don't be disheartened, because male papayas can sometimes bare fruits (rare but not uncommon, it's pretty common occurence) wherein, the male papayas slightly mutate to form ovary. But here's the catch: The fruit will probably have no seeds. (It'll be parthenocarpic/ sterile) as sexual reproduction didn't occur for exchange of chromosomes.

You can also improve your chances of papaya male bearing fruits by injuring them. Injuring them induces stress which makes them go from vegetative phase to fruiting phase. Here's how you do it- YouTube- Experiment on Papaya Inflorescence Although they improperly convey sex change, it's actually more about Inducting fructification. A large number of tropical agricultural universities are conducting these trials.

Alternately you introduce sex change by feeding hormones/growth-regulators and/or gene alteration.

Further Reading:-

Sex biased expression of hormone related genes at early stage of sex differentiation in papaya flowers- Oxford University Press

Regulation of sex expression and flowering in papaya (Carica papaya)-Phytojournals

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.